New plan would change sex offender placements

By Chris Mueller, Stevens Point Journal

MADISON - A plan added to the state budget on Tuesday would require violent sex offenders to be sent to their home counties after they're released.

State Rep. Katrina Shankland, a Democrat from Stevens Point, was the only Democrat on the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee to vote in favor of the budget motion, which passed 13-3. Shankland wrote the budget motion with state Rep. Mark Born, a Republican from Beaver Dam.

Shankland's vote comes months after the release of two sexually violent offenders, Peter Yogerst and Jason Staves, who were sent by judges in other counties to live in the rural Portage County town of Alban.

Yogerst and Staves both were granted supervised release by out-of-county judges only a few months after a Portage County judge decided not to allow another offender, Charles Anderson, to be released to the same house, which is across from the Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative, a building frequently used to host public events.

The measure would require judges to order each offender’s county of residence to prepare a report that identifies appropriate placement in the county. The report would be prepared by a temporary committee of several local officials and would have to include input from police and proof a landlord has committed to a lease.

Several Portage County officials, including Sheriff Mike Lukas and District Attorney Louis Molepske, provided input while the measure was being written, according to Annika Petty, a spokeswoman for Shankland.

“My budget motion returns local control and decision-making authority to counties,” Shankland said in a written statement. “It’s time for a long-term solution that puts the interests of local officials and residents first."